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Healthcare industry perspectives in a Covid-19 world by Dirk Abeel

Healthcare industry perspectives I Dirk Abeel is Global Medical Sales director at Reckitt Benckiser. The Future of Healthcare interviewed him to get to know his thoughts on the healthcare industry in a Covid-19 world. The below represents his personal view,

Abeel reveals that of course the biggest change that every company has witnessed during the current pandemic is the sudden requirement to start working from home and that we were not nearly as well prepared as we would have liked to be. 

It basically went from resetting to rebooting the whole system and stepping back to look at the situation. As part of focusing, prioritising and trying to get everyone aligned, what we started doing is weekly meetings to align, to find out the key points and reaching agreements to see how it can be the most useful time to our medical system working from home, while respecting the battles between their personal and professional life whilst keep on bringing value to our HCPs and Health Organizations

The plan we have is to look at our geographies and territories to make sure they are getting all the kinds of data, information and self-learning through the company’s portals. There are also face to face remote meetings, team meetings and cycle meetings in the works. The current working from home situation has reached a point that is quite well structured. This means the company’s regular touch points encompass the different layers and organization while still focusing on the well-being of the people involved.

After Covid-19, Abeel hopes and believes that medical sales rep activities would not go back to normal but rather things should change for the better in the medical sales industry. Key points such as how the supply chain functions need to be leveraged and boundaries which still exist between internal key functions need to be further broken down. 

He sees this as a huge enabler in really bringing medical sales rep to where it should be and that’s customer centricity and patient centricity. The end goal is to delight patients, consumers and customers. And for that, there is need to do the right thing. He believes the pandemic has presented an opportunity as well as a lever to push things in the right direction.  

Regarding the use of VI and AR we are further exploring this area because we’re still getting things sorted out properly. Having a solid strategy, solid way to safeguard data, solid infrastructure and solid analytical capability is essential before offering these new VI and AR services that are essentially the future of healthcare! 

Last but not least, how will be pharma in a few years?  Abeel thinks that the pharmaceutical industry will become more social value adding focused. He also thinks there will be a lot more ad hoc or temporary alliances between different pharmaceutical companies, thereby bringing a bigger value offer to customers by working together and bundling certain solutions which give them a bigger impact. It won’t just stop at social responsibility but will extend to combining sustainable profitability goals of investors, customers, corporation and its employees.

Health economics will also become a lot more important. The quantitative qualitative discussion will move further than just squeezing costs and focus more on finding a balance between both in the interest of the interplay of the patients.

Dirk Abeel

The Future of Healthcare I Healthcare industry perspectives

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